The paper 'International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior' is a wonderful example of a Management Case Study. Expatriate failure is defined as the state where people sent by multinational companies to undertake overseas assignments return home prematurely due to varied reasons that affect the performance of the expatriate in the new working environment (Varner, 2002). Expatriate failure has increasingly become an issue of great concern to multinational corporations prompting numerous research studies by human resource practitioners and academicians. Expatriate failure is also viewed differently as the underachievement on the part of the expatriate in achieving the objectives for which he/she was sent to undertake (Swaak, 2005). The reason why expatriate failure is an issue of great concern is that it reflects the inability of an organization to internationally to manage its human resource.
Hence, expatriate failure reflects the failure of an organization’ s international human resource strategies (Stone, 2004). As organizations seek to expand into the global and international markets, the issue of expatriate failure has, therefore, come to limelight with many organizations seeking means and ways of preventing and minimizing the rate of expatriate failure. Expatriates are used mainly for expertise reasons and the need to have greater corporate control as multinational corporations expand to international markets.
Hence, expatriate failure can threaten the capability of the organization in the global market as well as threaten the performance of the organization in the global environment. The purpose of this paper is to explore the issue of expatriate failure. Specifically, this paper will explore what multinational corporations can do to minimize the risk of expatriate failure as a way of enhancing the success of multinational corporations in the global environment. As stated there above, many reasons contribute to expatriate failure.
According to Weech (2001) culture shock is one of the major reasons for expatriate failure. Weech (2001) defined culture shock as the stress caused by the inability of an individual to integrate effectively into a foreign culture. Culture shock is also viewed as a psychological affliction that crops up when confusion and anxiety engulf an individual due to different beliefs and customs a person finds him or her in a different environment (Solomon, 2003). Among the components of culture shock include frustrations, irritability, and depression that cause heightened levels of homesickness. Culture shock results in reduced performance as the expatriate spends most of the time nursing his or her anxiety and confusion rather than undertaking the duties assigned to them.
Weech (2001) held that culture shock comes as the second stage of expatriate adjustment after the honeymoon stage. In the honeymoon stage, the expatriate is fascinated and excited by the fact of being in a new environment or country (Ferraro, 2010). The excitement is also accelerated by the beauty of sounds and sights found in the new country. However, the honeymoon stage slowly translates itself into the culture shock stage when the expatriates come to terms with the magnitude of problems and barriers that face them in the interactive environment and the workplace.
One of the evident aspects of culture shock that form the greatest barriers to expatriate performance is the language barrier. The inability to communicate effectively with people in the workplace cripples every other activity to be undertaken in the organization (Mendenhall, Oddou, and Stahl, 2006).
Expatriates find themselves in the dire need for an interpreter in order to pass their messages across to other people. This problem is worse particularly to the managers whose duty is to guide the rest of the employees in the organization.
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